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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally compelling
There is definately the touch of the Ian McEwan about this book. Like the other author, the prose is extremely well written and the narrative so exciting that it was really difficult to put this book down. Like McEwan, Morrison has the knack of unsettling you and I hurtled through the pages as I was anxious to discover what exactly happened to the characters in the end,...
Published on 22 Jun 2010 by Ian Thumwood

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow burner
Took a while to get going and gathered momentum later on, in fact dangerously close to late on. They said, stick with it and final third is worth your patience.
Published 5 months ago by harold bishop


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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally compelling, 22 Jun 2010
By 
Ian Thumwood "ian17577" (Winchester) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Last Weekend (Hardcover)
There is definately the touch of the Ian McEwan about this book. Like the other author, the prose is extremely well written and the narrative so exciting that it was really difficult to put this book down. Like McEwan, Morrison has the knack of unsettling you and I hurtled through the pages as I was anxious to discover what exactly happened to the characters in the end, even though none were particularly sympathetic - the narrator being particularly cringe-worthy.

The story concerns two couple who are reunited for a Bank Holiday weekend on the East coast with the two male characters being old friends from university. What I loved about the story was how the author managed to get right inside the head of his principle creation and conjure situations where we eventually start to realise that things aren't exactly what they seem. In the beginning we are offered glimpses of the main character's past and, one by one, these start to piece together into the jigsaw of the main thread of the novel, only that the picture we are trying to put together might not necessarily be the one that we had started off with. Consequently, the story becomes increasingly more exciting as the clues start to fit together and the last thirty or so pages had to be finished off late at night as I could not bare the suspense!! Not going to say any more as I don't want to spoil anyone's enjoyment but hope this is sufficient to prompt your curiousity.

Blake Morrison is not an author I had heard of before and I was prompted to buy this book after reading an excellent review in my Sunday newspaper. I am glad that I followed my interest up and, as the other reviwer stated, agree that this would make an excellent film or drama. Modern literature is a bit of a mixed bag for me. I like a good story but I hate pulp fiction. "The last weekend" is well crafted with some wonderful descriptions but is a thriller at the same time. All in all, I would thoroughly recommend this book although buyers should be aware that they will want to finish the thing once they have got their teeth into the first few chapters! Really enjoyed this book.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping read but . . ., 16 Aug 2010
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This review is from: The Last Weekend (Hardcover)
The book takes place over a bank holiday weekend where two couples share a weekend in a country house. Ollie & his wife Daisy - glamourous and wealthy, invite former university friend Ian and his wife Em(considerably poorer and "ugly toads" compared to the golden couple) for the weekend on the basis they have something important to tell them.

There is a sort of feel good feel to it to start with (think This Life, Peter's Friends, The Priory (Royal Court Play)) but as things unfold old rivalries and unfinished business becomes exposed.

It is a fairly short read and pretty page turning - I read it in a day which says alot for it's plot pace. The book is unusual because it doesn't patronise the reader - which is a real strength. So when a scene is described from one character's perspective that may not be all it seems to be, rather than having another character explain what actually happened (eg. Bret Easton Ellis Rules of Attraction), the reader is left to work it out and form his/her own conclusions.

The only real weakness in the book is the ending which was to me unsatisfying, very disappointing given the strength of the book and several of the ending strands were implausible. It's a shame and this is the only reason it gets 4 stars from me - otherwise would have been a clear 5.

It's kind of sad that authors can't include "alternative endings" in future editions of books a la DVD extras!! This book could be made perfect!

Good read though and would recommend nonetheless. Ideal reading for a weekend away.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A compelling read, 10 May 2011
This review is from: The Last Weekend (Hardcover)
I read Blake Morrison's previous novel, 'South Of The River' a few years ago. I enjoyed it, but am now struggling to recall much about it. This is a shorter and far more memorable read. Morrison's use of an unreliable narrator is the best I have ever come across in contemporary fiction. The reader realises only gradually that all is not as it seems. Vital snippets of information are dropped casually into the narrative. The author builds the tension superbly. To say much more would give away the plot, but I loved this book, and am still thinking about it several days after finishing it. Highly recommended.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Last Weekend, 19 May 2010
By 
J. Pegler (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Last Weekend (Hardcover)
I loved this book. A relatively quick read and you can sort of guess what is going to happen well before the end - but not quite. You can feel how stiflingly hot this August weekend is. The strength of this book is the realistic characters. It is uncomfortable to be in the head of the narrator and it isn't until the end that you realise how warped his perception of events is. This book would make a great film or TV drama.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, 29 Sep 2012
This review is from: The Last Weekend (Paperback)
I read this after watching the television series so I did already know what was going to happen, but this did not detract from the enjoyment and I still found myself hoping that something else would happen. The Last Weekend is set over a bank holiday weekend in August and as the time progresses you get the feeling that something terrible is going to happen. The characters that Blake Morrison has created are varied and interesting although the character of Ian is not likeable and it becomes clear throughout that he twists the truth. I did enjoy the book and the way it slowly unfolded until you know what happens but for me I felt that there was something missing from it to make it really really good, but it is a good psychological thriller all the same.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling story that gathers pace, 12 Nov 2010
By 
Bluebell (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Last Weekend (Hardcover)
I didn't know of this author before but will seek out some of his other books as I found this a compelling and well-written story that caught my attention from the very start. At first I thought it seemed more like a book written by someone like Joanna Trollope: two middle class couples, one wealthy and the other struggling financially, agree to spend a holiday weekend together having not seen each other for many years. We soon learn that the two men had been inseparable friends at University but a rift developed after Ollie "stole" Ian's girlfriend, Daisy, the latter now Ollie's partner and mother of their son. So the scene is set for marital tensions between the two couples, but the book develops into much more than a relationships-novel as there are several interesting sub-plots. For example, Ian, a school-teacher, is suspended from his job owing to a complaint by a parent: a scenario that leads to some humorous writing parodying extreme political correctness. Em, Ian's wife, a dedicated social worker is trying, unsuccessfully, to become pregnant; Ollie believes he's seriously ill. The writer skillfully builds up the main characters and then shifts our view of them as the stories unfold and the book gathers pace as a darker, more menacing atmosphere develops as the two men, Ian and Ollie, start to compete at various sports with a large bet resting on the outcome. The foursome is further unbalanced by, Milo, Daisy's artist friend who was also invited for the weekend and fuels jealous feelings in the two other men. A potent mix that gathers steam to an explosive finale.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good holiday read, 29 April 2014
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This review is from: The Last Weekend (Kindle Edition)
I read this after watching the television adaptation and as is usually the case, the book is more nuanced and convincing. That said, the casting is very apt. It's the story of two friendly couples on a weekend break in remote-ish East Anglia: Ollie and Daisy (upper-middle class, attractive) and Ian and Em (lower-middle class, and in Ian's words 'ugly toads'). Nothing is quite as it seems, however, as our narrator is Ian and he is classically unreliable. The story starts slowly and gathers pace as more is revealed, until the reader doubts that anything is really as Ian describes.

If that doesn't sound much like 'Othello', of which this is meant to be a reworking, that's because it doesn't really work on that level. Ian (Iago) is jealous of Ollie (Othello) despite the efforts of his sensible wife Em (Emilia) but that's about where the similarities end. Iago isn't unreliable: he's quite open about his machinations. Ultimately Ian doesn't succeed in corrupting Ollie either.

It is nonetheless a decent page-turning read, keeping the reader hooked on Ian's self-delusion and establishing an atmosphere of foreboding, with Badingley already associated with tragic memories for two of the characters. It's dark and involving, and while few would conclude that Ian is anything other than seriously deranged, it is also an indictment of empty aspiration and hollow values.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Slow burner, 20 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Last Weekend (Paperback)
Took a while to get going and gathered momentum later on, in fact dangerously close to late on. They said, stick with it and final third is worth your patience.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read, 31 Aug 2013
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This review is from: The Last Weekend (Paperback)
This is the first time I have read a book by this author and it will not be the last.
A well written novel with believable characters. The scene setting, character construction and plot are well crafted. I particularly enjoyed the way the author made my emotions, in relation to the main character, swing from liking him, feeling sorry for him, thinking he is a loser, to thinking he is underhand. A true to life weekend experience which could have happened to any of us in these unfortunate circumstances. I am looking forward to reading more of Blake Morrison's work.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm, 4 July 2013
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Not my favourite book. Too many strands of the story just didn't hang with the tapestry of the main narrative. The television version was even weaker.
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The Last Weekend
The Last Weekend by Blake Morrison (Hardcover - 6 May 2010)
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